Monday, November 30, 2009

November 30 – “Miss My Wife Monday”


Today was really one of those "I miss my wife" Mondays.  Most of them are when Chris is taking her mom to chemo, but today for some reason I especially missed her.  Guess I'm just a big baby.


I started working on next week's teaching around six this morning.  Mom had to be at a clinic at 8 a.m. for a fasting blood test.  We got there right at eight and she was first in line for the lab.  It didn't take that long at all.  We even had time to swing by the bank and were still home well before nine.  I started back on the sermon and the next time I looked up it was 11:30.  I was pretty stiff, so I got up and fixed Mom some leftovers for lunch.  We're watching her closely the next few days to make sure she gets around after her fall on Saturday.  She seems to be doing fine.


I had two calls right at lunch about the school.  The first was from a Mom in Wyoming.  They are planning to move to Galveston and wanted info on Seaside Christian Academy.  Get this.  She called "Moody Museum," which she thought might have something to do with D.L.  Moody, a famous evangelist.  I guess she got Moody Gardens.  Whoever she talked to knew Clay Thomas was a pastor, so she called him.  When she mentioned a Christian school, Clay told her to call us.  Rather than make her call somebody else, I talked to her for a long time about the school and about Galveston.  They plan to be here sometime in December, and if all works out, their son will enroll in eighth grade in January.


The second call was from our headmaster.  He understood that someone was going to relieve him after the lunch hour from now on.  My understanding was that I was not supposed to go back in a teaching/administrative capacity to make it easier for the kids to accept the new administrator and his discipline.  That means afternoons are not accounted for.  The administrative assistant stayed today, and the school board president and one of the other interested members are supposed to talk about solutions tonight.


After that call I couldn't get back in sync for the teaching, so I went to the garage and started testing tools to see what I have available for carving something for Chris this year.  That decision made for an interesting hour or so.  I got out the dremel – one of the first tools we replaced after the storm.  I didn't have very many attachments, so I tried out the sander.  After a few seconds the sandpaper blew out.  Really.  It was like a tire on a car blowing out.  The dremel was OK, so I took the attachment off and lost the little tiny screw that goes in it.  I found the screw as I lost the little tiny washer.  Then I lost the screw again.  I finally found the screw, but I decided to try something else.  I got out the drill and tried the sander attachment on it.  Worked fine, but the sandpaper wouldn't stay on.  That's when I decided I wanted to use the dremel with the attachment that I had before the storm.  So I went to Home Depot.  Of course they didn't have that one in stock.  I got a few different ones and headed for the garage.  The first one was too little to fit the cap.  It just spun around wildly like it had fallen off a roller coaster and was caught by the seat of its pants.  The other one worked, but it would be slow going.  I used it for some time.  I know it was longer than a few seconds, because when I stood up off my stool, I had one of those pain attacks where every square inch of my body felt like it was on fire.  I'm sure it originated in my back, and it passed fairly quickly.  Ouch.  But then I had an idea.  The skill saw.  We bought that after the storm.  I tightened a piece of wood into the vise and turned it on.  The wood popped out of the vise and the vise popped off the table and fell to the floor, narrowly missing my toes.  Next I found an old coping saw.  Ah, memories.  The first things I carved for Chris, I used a good old, hand-held coping saw.  And this one worked like a charm.  Until the blade broke.  I went back to the dremel again, with that one tip that worked, but seemed slow.  This time instead of sitting on my stool, I stood up and held the wood tightly near my chest so I could control the direction of the dremel.  And sure enough, the tip got caught in my shirt and wound around and around.  It went so fast, I couldn't even find the off switch.  It finally just kept groaning at me while I forced it back around and around until I found the switch.  It never occurred to me to pull the plug.  Now I have three tiny little dremel holes in my shirt.  At that point I decided it was time to text Chris and see how long before she got home.  And I needed a shower.


Psalms 68:3 says, "3 But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful."


Father, Thank you again and again for my wife.  Missing her makes seeing her again so sweet.  Amen.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

November 29 – “Sinking”


After church today we had a discernment meeting.  It's almost December, so we had to begin facing our usual end of the year gloomy news.  God has been great to us since Ike.  Our building didn't suffer much damage at all.  Sister churches sent us supplies and workers and money.  Seasiders from out of town and former Seasiders were more than generous with offerings.  We got a gift from a professional golfer, of all places.  It all helped us get through the last year and get to the point where the Seaside Christian Academy building is almost finished. 


In the meantime, we were still dealing with the loss of key families after the storm.   Galveston is just not the same.  I heard we have gone from 65,000 in population to 45,000.  That's a lot of people not here.  And the ones who are here are still trying to get back in their homes, or "reestablished" in "new" personal routines.  We are just now beginning to get some hint of where Seaside and Seaside Christian Academy might be as organizations.  And that news is tough to look at from a purely organizational point of view.  The church needs about $10,000 a month, and we have been receiving about $8,000.  That adds up after awhile.  The school is behind, too.  But they have several prospects for new students, and some of them are supposed to start tomorrow.   Our financial guys are on top of it, but we are really praying hard now as well. 


God has provided just what we needed when we needed it in the past.  There's no reason to think he won't do that again.  He certainly has plenty.  We need to trust him and be about doing what he has called us to do: make disciples of all nations.  That means spending time with people who are not believers, and being creative in ways to communicate the gospel to them.  And trusting God.  Trust.  It's not in the textbook for raising money for non-profit organizations.  But I can't think of a better place to start.


Speaking of finances, I paid some of our personal bills this afternoon.  We are looking at where else we can cut our budget and finish paying off the rest of our house bills from Ike. And pay for my hearing aids.  And get a car.  Mom's is really getting to its last leg, I'm afraid.  I haven't talked to Chris yet, but I think we can stop the Houston Chronicle and read it online.  Mom used to read it, but she only makes it through the Galveston paper lately.  We could also stop the aircard.  There's a problem there, though.  I can't get the wireless part of the laptop to work anymore.  I need tech support.


Wow.  I guess I'm sinking into "Chris is in Bay City again and I'm losing focus" mode … again.


Luke 24:51-53 says, "While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. 52 Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. 53 And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God."


Father, You are God.  I'm glad.  We need you over and over again.  Amen.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

November 28 – “Turkey Bowl”


The Turkey Bowl did take place once again this year.  The tradition continues.  In honor of new starts and Galveston's new normal, we went back to the early days of the Turkey Bowl.  The game took place out in the street in front of our house.  That's how we used to play back when I was in junior high school – "Two below" out in front of my cousins' house … in the street. 


We didn't begin at High Noon, though.  Our participants slowly arrived in true Galveston time form.  Nathan and April.  Cory and Josh.  Kel and Jachin.  Marcus. 


April did play. In fact she completely took Nathan out on one play.  Tackled him right in the street.  Then she smacked him right in the face on another one.  They had quite the little rivalry going. 


Jachin played, too.  He's just six years old.  On his first kickoff we gave him the ball and he raced the length of the field – er, street – for as touchdown.  It was better that Texas vs. A&M.  We all played strictly for fun.  And we had fun.  None of us wanted to quit, but we were rapidly approaching our breaking points.  Nathan asked me if I was tired, and I told him, "I started the game tired.  Don't use how I feel as a benchmark."  He asked Cory, and the decision was made.  Halftime.  Which, by the way, in a Turkey Bowl game traditionally means the game is over.  Once we stop it is next to impossible to get started again.


We were drinking some water that April brought out when we noticed Mom sitting on the floor near the front door.  Yes.  On the floor.  Chris and I rushed over.  She had slipped on the rug.  A few of the guys came over and helped her up.  She said she was fine, but she may be sore tomorrow.


After sharing a piece of pie, everybody left but family.  So we began the process of decorating for Christmas.  That's quite an ordeal when you have no idea what decorations you have.  Nathan crawled up into the attic where we stored what little we were able to salvage as well as the many things people gave us last Christmas.  We got the new tree put together, and Christina and April strung more lights on it than we have ever had – with a little help from Nathan.  We had to totally rearrange the furniture, and Nathan and Kel took their orders in that department pretty well.  Chris will go through the rest of the boxes and see what we actually have.  As soon as we can get some of those hooks they make, Nathan and April said they wanted to help us hang our outside lights.  Ho.  Ho.  Ho.


Ephesians 1:3 says, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ."


Father, thank you for a really fun day.  I'm exhausted.  I will be very sore tomorrow.  But today was very special.  Thank you.  Amen.

Friday, November 27, 2009

November 27 – “Happy Fiftieth Birthday, Sue!”

This morning we went to WalMart.  No, it wasn't at 5 a.m. to catch all the Christmas bargains.  We did pick up a Christmas tree, though.  And some rope lights to replace the ones lost around our deck.  So, that made it not really a Christmas run.  This was housing stuff.  Still replacing Hurricane Ike losses.


After lunch we ventured off the island, but again, it was not to inject ourselves into the madness of the Friday after Thanksgiving.  That adventure we left to April.  You'll have to check her Facebook page for an update.  We just went to Sam's to pick up some church supplies.  Next Sunday night is our version of  Hanging of the Greens.  We have a snack party and decorate the sanctuary.  That means we'll need plates and paper towels and hot chocolate and coffee.  And there are also Christmas caroling and dinner on the grounds and the Christmas Eve Candlelight Lord's Supper Service coming up.


We had to go back to WalMart.  We measured the deck and didn't have enough rope lights.  We also needed an extension cord to bring the lights some juice.  That was a fun trip, though.  We saw Rick and Traci looking at a Charlie Brown tree.  I got a hug from one of the wedding coordinators from the San Luis.  She sure looked different in her "civies."  Kel and Christina and the boys were there, too – in our truck.  They borrowed it to pick out  a Christmas tree.  I also saw a lady who smiled and waved from a few rows away, so I waved back. 


I had enough time to remove the old rusted screws from the plastic rope light holders, but not enough time to do any installing.  Tomorrow.


Speaking of tomorrow, Nathan and April and Cailyn and Kel and Christina and the boys are supposed to come over to help us put our new tree together.  We also need help getting the Christmas stuff down from the attic.  That's going to be interesting.  Pretty much all of it was given to us last Christmas, so we have no idea what we have.


My sister-in-law Sue just turned fifty, so we went to a dinner party in her honor (memory?) this evening.  That's why she got the title billing.  Fifty.  That's half a century.  Quite the milestone.  The party didn't start until six.  Mom was ready at 4:30, and started pacing around five.  Shortly thereafter she started asking when we were leaving.  Hmm.  Role reversal.  I have a vague recollection of someone doing the same thing when he was a little boy.  It must have been my little brother, Stan.


John 1:16 says, "From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another."


Father, thank you for the "one blessing after another" you have given us.  Amen.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

November 26 – “Eat Turkey Day”


Well, Sam, that big ol' turkey you gave us was perfect for our Thanksgiving gathering today.  Chris' Mom and Dad came.  Josh and Christi were here with Zak and Caleb.  Kel and Christina and Jachin and Micah came over.  April and Cailyn came.  Three of Chris' brothers came with their families, and Chris' niece from Virginia was here, too.  Nathan and a friend of his even came by in the fire department rescue truck to say hi to everybody and give the kids a thrill.  Counting me and Chris and Mom, it was twenty-four people. 


The food was great as usual.  Along with the fried turkey, we had ham and corn and green beans and mashed potatoes and dressing and sweet potatoes and fruit salad and several things I had no idea what they were.  Desserts included apple, pecan, pumpkin, and peach pies and a birthday cake for Chris' Mom, one of her niece's, and Jachin.  There was a toss-up for my personal favorite between Chris apple-cinnamon pie and Christina's chocolate chocolate pie. 


The fire department guys borrowed our turkey fry pot.  Seems there was a guy down at the station who was going to fry a 25 pounder in a smaller pot than the one Nathan and I used yesterday.  They were worried that maybe some grease would spill over the top and hit the flame.  It could cause a fire.  Wouldn't want that at the main fire station in town.  So glad Nathan and I could help.


Well, the Cowboys are winning, and the Aggies play the Longhorns in a little while.  In the meantime we are watching I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus. 

What a way to end the day.


Isaiah 44:3-5 says, "For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.  4 They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams.  5 One will say, 'I belong to the Lord'; another will call himself by the name of Jacob; still another will write on his hand, 'The Lord's,' and will take the name Israel."


Father, I'd like that kind of blessing for my offspring.  Please make it be so.  Amen.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

November 25 – “Turkey Fry Day”


Yes, today really was Turkey Fry Day.  It started early.  I was at WalMart at 8 to buy some propane to power the two fryers.  Chris took Mom to a doctor appointment.  By 8:30 the fire was burning and the grease was heating up.  Josh and I started in at around 9:00: pull two turkeys out of the fridge, hook them up to the lowering contraption, gently ease them into the grease, adjust the temperature, wait an hour, pull the first two out and put the next two in, wait for the first two to cool, carve the first two, throw away the bones, and start the process all over again.  We did that until we had fried eight turkeys. 


Then we got to number nine.  He was a big one.  Sam gave us this one.  Twenty-two pounder.  And our fryer pots are supposed to hold no greater than thirteen.  But Ol' Tom was already marinated.  And Nathan was here, so we had a fireman present.  We decided to go for it.  He and I headed out back, turkey in his hand.  I had the pot lid in mine.  I was shield bearer for the mighty turkey slayer. 


We circled the pot, staring at the hot grease and mentally figuring just how much of it would be displaced by Ol' Tom's bulk.  Unknown to us, we had an audience.  Every nose in the house was plastered to a window, watching … waiting.  What would happen?  Would they really go through with it?  Finally, our eyes met.  Nathan broke into that huge grin I remembered so well.  I had seen it on several occasions.  Like when he roller bladed off the roof of the house.  And I knew. 


Slowly he lowered.  Carefully, I maneuvered into shielding position.  Up rose the scalding hot grease.  Higher.  Higher.  Until it began to trickle over the edge, racing down the side of the pot in search of the flame that would cause it to spring to life.  And the trickle became a stream, and the stream an overflowing fountain.  Just a few more inches and the mission would be complete, the turkey would be submerged.  Tongues of flame licked out from beneath the pot, devouring as much of the tasty liquid as it could.  By this time the ground was saturated beneath the cooker.  Fritz the dog was licking his lips in anticipation.  The shield was in place.  Nathan shifted his weight to remove the handle.  And it was in.  With minimal extraneous flamery.  The shield held, and I dropped it in place over the pot.  We all – finally – exhaled.  And the final wait began.  Eighty-eight minutes.  An hour and a half.  That's a long time to fry something.  And Chris proclaimed, "This turkey we shall eat on the morrow."


Proverbs 16:27 says, "A scoundrel plots evil, and his speech is like a scorching fire."


Father, after watching those turkeys today, I want to watch my speech.  Save me from scoundrel-ry.  Amen.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

November 24 – “Grandma Texas”



This morning was supposed to be the big kickoff to Frying Turkey Day.  I was especially looking forward to it after watching the new TV show called Trauma last night.  It's about a paramedic crew.  One of the segments showed a guy getting ready to fry a turkey.  His wife kept asking him if he knew what he was doing.  He said he had looked up everything there was to know about frying turkeys on the internet.  He sent her to bring it to him.  She got the bird out of the freezer, took it to him, and returned inside.  He held it out over the pot of hot grease and let go.  As soon as the frozen bird hit the grease it exploded and covered the guy (no, they didn't show that part – Just the paramedics coming to the rescue). 


But it was raining.  So much for frying turkeys.  Instead I worked on the sermon for Sunday. 


Grandma Texas came over for a visit with Mom.  That's the nickname of one of her best friends from high school.  She now lives in Arkansas and drives one of those old VW's.  She loves Texas so much that she tells everyone in Arkansas to call her Grandma Texas.  I always love it when she comes to visit.  She is fun to talk to and has a treasure trove of stories, but Mom is always so excited to see her.  That makes it worth it.


We went to Cailyn's apartment today.  Her Mom and Dad were there, too.  They have already decorated for Christmas.  So guess who wants to get decorated now? 


Josh and Christi and the boys are due in around midnight, so it'll be a long night.  And tomorrow will be Turkey Frying Day.  Rain or shine.


Psalms 119:2 says, "Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart."


Father, I really want to do whatever you say.  I know I'll need your help.  Amen.

Monday, November 23, 2009

November 23 – “Always something more”



Chris was gone today, so I wanted to do something around the house that she would notice and appreciate.  That sometimes happens to me when she leaves.  I become a hopeless romantic.  I got together my "To Do" list for the week first, and took care of the crucial, "must be done on Monday" stuff – like paying bills and sending birthday and anniversary cards.  I figured I could work on the teaching tomorrow and be well on my way before Josh and Christi and their boys get here late Tuesday night.  I'll just have to focus – in between frying turkeys, which is already scheduled for tomorrow. 


I decided that the most obvious thing of all would be to catch up on some yard work.  We're only about fourteen months behind, and those two new sycamore trees are going to think we are evil step-parents if they don't see some work soon.  That led to my first decision.  Do I go to Kel's and borrow the lawn mower, or do I just use our weedeater?  I really didn't want to go get the lawn mower.  I don't know if I was just feeling lazy or what, but I came up with some great reasons not to go.  They probably wouldn't be there.  If they were there, I'd have to stay and play awhile.  Then I'd have to lift it into the truck.  Hey, there was my clincher.  There was no way I could lift it by myself.  Now maybe that was the voice of my conscience / wife going off in my head, or maybe, like I said, I was being lazy.  I used the weedeater.


The front yard wasn't too hard.  We only have grass on half of it anyway.  It's trying to spread over that mud that we got from our neighbor, but it has a long way to go.  And speaking of that mud, when it gets wet it is the slipperiest stuff I have been on since playing broomball back in the 80's and watching our friend Rob hit the ice hard.  There was a lot of dew when I began, so I had to be careful trekking across the mud.  I about had the grass trimmed when I noticed the palm tree in the front yard.  It was looking pretty sick, so I got that long saw on a pole thing and cut the dead branches.  There's a pretty nice pile now. 


I moved to the other side of the driveway and started on the part of our neighbor's yard that touches ours.  Our neighbor.  I guess that would be "super-corporate mortgage company backed by government bailout money" now.  I got enough of that yard done that I could put the trash out, then remembered that I still had to do the back yard at our house.  That would be the one not backed by government bailout money.  I packed up the weedeater and headed into the fray.  The back yard is a puzzlement to me.  There is a lot of grass back there now.  More than we have had in years.  But there is also a lot of weeds.  And some of them were my personal deadly nemesis – stickerburs.  I cannot abide stickerburs.  So I started pulling them up by the roots – by hand.  Took longer, but it's the only way to get rid of them effectively.  I continued cutting, but as I neared one section, I remembered Chris saying, "If you mow, be careful, because some plant is growing back there."  Actually, she said the plant's name and all, but I don't remember it.  So when I reached that point I pulled up the grass and weeds by hand so I would be sure to miss the special growth.


Then  I realized that I would have to move the lawn furniture around to get under them, and then I would have to rearrange it all in case someone wants to sit outside on Thursday.  And then I saw that I needed to make the little slide accessible, just in case.  And then the patio needed to be swept.  And then I remembered that I hadn't swept the front sidewalk yet.  And then I looked over at the abandoned house and realized I had never finished cutting it.  There was always something more.  I finally had to quit.  I'm going to be seriously sore.  I guess it'll be a good test for this weird arthritis.  It most definitely hurt while I was working.  Now we see how bad it still hurts tomorrow.  Always something more.


Philippians 1:6 says, "being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."


Father, I know for sure that I'm not complete.  I find out every day that there is always something more I need to work on.  Thanks for your promise to stick with me.  Amen.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

November 22 – “Texting during church”


Church at Seaside this morning was kind of fun.  I set up the teaching as a classroom situation where feedback was encouraged.  I never know how the folks will respond, but today there was a lot of talking.  They really got going during the Visual Verses segment.  That's where we memorize scripture using visual cues I make up.  I am not known for my drawings of animals – especially bears.  Well, this one had not one but four drawings of cows – heifers to be exact.  The word they represented was four-heifer – "forever," obviously.  With a start like that, how could we not have fun?


We had a new couple there who have moved from Kentucky.  She has been praying for her husband to go to church for seven years – the length of time they have been married.  He joined her today, and they both seemed to enjoy what was going on.  She plans to come to our home group.  He said he will probably still be working late evenings. 


She met one of our other couples.  They came to home group last week for the first time.  They are one of the funniest couples I have ever met.  She has had all kinds of medical problems, but every time I talk to her she says something outrageously funny.  Today we had a debate about kindness (the subject of the teaching).  How do you debate whether or not to be kind?


And speaking about kindness, we got a Rark today while we were at the pharmacy getting Mom's prescription filled.  A Rark is a Random Act of Radical Kindness.  That comes from a teaching years ago.  And the person who did it was around then.  In fact she is one of the few left at Seaside who was around back before I came.  Sam brought us a turkey.  A big one.  It was a real surprise.  I'm not even sure it'll fit into the turkey frier pots we have.  Chris may have to actually bake it.  She hasn't done that since the first year we fried one.


Chris headed for Bay City this afternoon.  Her Mom's chemo is tomorrow morning.  Kel came by around 5:30 to pick up his drill that I borrowed some time ago.  He invited us to go eat at First Baptist Church.  They were having a "Love Feast."  We had thirty minutes to get there.  Mom sure moved fast.  It was a traditional Thanksgiving meal – turkey and dressing.  Their praise team sang and people shared testimonies about things they were thankful for.  It was nice.  Seemed a bit convoluted at times, but overall, nice. 


I did something during the sharing and communion time that I have always secretly wanted to do – text messaging during church.  I see it all the time, but it would be hard to explain if the pastor stopped to send a text during the sermon.  The funny thing is who I texted.  Kel sent me one from two seats away.  I answered him.  Then Chris started texting me from Bay City.  It was a lot of fun for me.  She finally found out where I was.  I confessed. She said something along the lines of "Shame on you!"  And for some reason her texting stopped.  I'll have to ask her why.


1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, "Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."


Father, thank you.  Amen.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

November 21 – “Sycamores”


This morning it was cold and wet.  Not really raining.  Just wet.  And this morning was when we had to stand in line for thirty minutes.  Outside.  Where it was cold and wet. 


Three groups got together and sent Galveston two thousand trees.  I think one of them was Randalls.  Anyway,  the city set up shop behind City Hall and gave them away.  All you had to do to get two trees was show proof that you lived in Gaveston – a drivers' license or a utility bill.  Well, you also had to sign a little thing that said you would plant them on the island.  And you had to tell them where on the island they would be so the Island Tree Gestapo can come by and check up on you. 


They had five or six different types of tree to choose from.  At least they did when the give-away began.  It was supposed to begin at 9 a.m.  We arrived at ten minutes to nine.  And the line was wrapped half way around the block.  They had started at 8 a.m. because there were people already lined up.  The girl scouts were giving away mulch and little bitty cuttings of magnolia trees.  Volunteers were everywhere to help you  decide which tree would be best for you.


We picked two sycamores.  We had several reasons for it.  Chris wanted a tree that would get really big and one that would grow really fast.  She even did internet research to help with her decision making process.  She had narrowed it down and decided on a Sycamore and a white oak.  But when we got to the lot, there were no more white oaks.  That meant she would have to look at all the trees again and decide on her second choice.


My decision was easier.  And a lot simpler.  I wanted sycamores.  I had two reasons.  First, the house we lived in when I was born had a sycamore tree in the front.  I remember it being huge.  No, beyond huge.  It was gigantic.  The leaves were big and it had these little round balls that were seeds.  We never climbed it.  It was too high to reach the first branch.  My second reason?  The most obvious one, of course.  I wanted a sycamore tree because we live on Sycamore Street.  And I don't think there were any sycamore trees on our street.  There are now.


Psalms 119:1 says, "Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord."


Father, I want to be blessed, but that's a lot of expectation.  Blameless.  Walking according to your law.  I want to.  Help.  Amen.

Friday, November 20, 2009

November 20 – “A Christmas Cat Tree”


This morning we left early for Mom's doctor's appointment in Houston.  It was supposed to be just a review of a test she had a few months ago.  We couldn't make the follow up appointment back then, and this was the earliest next available.  As it turned out we had to stay in Houston for a few hours more than we planned.  He wanted to do an MRI to compare to the one he did back two years ago.  He thinks she might have had a very minor stroke that affected her language center, making it hard for her to come up with the word she's looking for sometimes.  Otherwise she seems to be doing great.  He was very pleased.


On the way home we stopped by my aunt's house in League City.  She had talked to Chris awhile back and invited us to come over.  She had a box of Christmas ornaments for us.  This year every single ornament on her overloaded tree has a cat on it.  A Christmas cat tree.  It was frightening.


When we left there we made a stop at the WalMart on 646.  We were hoping by some chance they would have two more barstools that matched the ones we got the other day.  To our surprise they did.  We now have four barstools that Chris really likes just, in time to host her family – and anyone else who wants to come over – for Thanksgiving.  I got them put together without too much trouble.  Did it while watching a schmaltzy Santa Claus movie on TV.  Multi-tasking.


This afternoon I officially felt the presence of the "tiny little dose" of steroids I have been taking.  Sadly, it wasn't an incredible burst of energy that enabled me to do astonishing feats of strength.  Instead it was … hot flashes.  I remember them well from the last time.  Back then they were accompanied by the energy as well as an uncanny "ability" to stay awake for hours on end.  That hasn't happened yet.  And my "benchmark" for this joint pain ordeal – my left elbow – is most definitely still in pain.  My fingers seem to be some better.  At least they aren't as swollen.  


We have a problem with our new refrigerator.  It seems that the freezer only comes on when the door is open.  At least that was true for all of yesterday.  I called Sears from the car and arranged for us to return it and exchange it for another one.  They said there would be no problems.  I planned to do that probably on Monday if my sons can help again.  But this evening when I checked it out, it actually seems to be working.  The water we put in the freezer is frozen for the first time, and the bread in there is almost frozen as well.  Not sure what to do now.  At least it will work to hold turkeys while we wait to fry them.


Psalms 112:1-2 says, "Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who finds great delight in his commands.  2 His children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed."


Father, I want my children to be mighty blessed.  Teach me to fear you.  Help me obey your commands and not worry about the desires of men.  Amen. 

Thursday, November 19, 2009

November 19 – “Pea Patrol”


I went back to school today.  After the concern expressed yesterday by the new headmaster, I decided I really had no choice.  We went into the office almost as soon as I got there.  He seemed a little less stressed than yesterday, but still determined not to stick around to supervise the afternoon session.  I told him I would stay today.  Tomorrow is a half day anyway for the Thanksgiving break, so this gives us a week to see what we can do.  I told him to work on getting some teachers who will work for a per class stipend, maybe Spanish or Sign language to start with.  I will talk to the school board about rearranging salary money.  He offered to give up a substantial portion of his salary to help pay the new teachers.  He said if we do get stipends approved, the first one should go to the Bible teacher.  I wholeheartedly agree. 


I overheard one of the math classes talking today.  Seems that our new headmaster was a hippie in his younger days.  This guy shows more and more promise every day.


I heard another anecdote from the kindergarten class.  One of the little guys brought a full lunch – including peas.  But he apparently didn't like peas.  And he had some delectable snacks as well.  The problem was, he also had instructions not to eat the snacks until he had finished his lunch. 


So … he started hiding peas – one pea at a time – around the room.  The teacher went to the door to answer a question from another student.  While her back was turned, our little guy dumped what was left of his peas, along with the better part of his lunch, into the nearest trash can.  When the teacher turned back around, she immediately noticed and asked where his lunch was.  He sure didn't know.  So the teacher called out to one of the older students: "Come on, you are now on Pea Patrol.  We're going on pea patrol, and we're going on a pea hunt."


Knowing he was about to be found out, our little pea avoider cried out, "Don't look in the trash can.  It's yuckie in there!"  I imagine so.


Psalms 89:15-16 says, "Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O Lord.  16 They rejoice in your name all day long."


Father, let me feel the light of your presence.  I just want to be sure I'm walking in the right direction.